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Getting real about travel anger

Matador Network - Wed, 12/02/2014 - 09:00

Photo: Gilles Guerraz

Susan Conley’s China travel memoir The Foremost Good Fortune reminded me of an emotion we as travelers often feel, though we as travel writers don’t often write about: anger.

In Conley’s case, she has plenty to be angry about. While struggling to make sense of the complexities of her life as an expat mom of two rambunctious boys living in Beijing, where they’ve moved for her husband’s job, Conley is unexpectedly stricken with breast cancer. It’s a tough two years out of her life, and Conley unflinchingly shares them with her readers, warts and all.

For example, while touring the Great Wall with a friend visiting from home, Conley is confronted by a guard demanding money, about three bucks. Conley’s friend, a newcomer to China, wants to simply pay him and get out of there. But Conley, who’s lived in the country for a while, is ticked off because she senses she and her friend are being taken advantage of. She writes:

I’m angry now for all the times I haven’t had the right ticket in China. Or the correct permit. Or accurate directions. Or the perfect words. I scream more nonsense in Chinglish about how it’s not fair that we have to buy more tickets, [my friend] gets out her RMB notes and pays the man off, then leads me away by the hand. I’m crying, and I’m not sure why.

When I visited China, there were all sorts of things that made me angry: getting lost, a day of driving rain, an evening when I couldn’t find a decent place to get a meal. There were also graver sources of irritation. Specifically, I was traveling with an African-American man who became a constant object of fascination for locals. Wherever we went, Chinese people would stop and stare, point, even laugh. A few of them sneaked up behind him to get their picture taken with him.

Travel strips us not only of our comforts but also the conventions that keep our most turbulent emotions in check.

My companion took much of the unwanted attention in graceful stride. I did not. Each time these things happened, I felt a futile welling up of fury, much like what Conley describes vividly in her memoir. What should I be doing in this situation? Whose fault is this really, if anyone’s? Why do I feel so helpless?

Travel anger is not a phenomenon unique to Conley or China. I remember cursing out the author of my Let’s Go in Florence when the book’s vaguely worded directions left me spinning in circles in the Piazza della Signoria.

In India, I felt ready to murder several members of the staff at my hotel in Agra after they refused to accommodate my request to change my room from the one I had — directly above the thumping dance floor of a raucous wedding going into the wee hours.

In Las Vegas, I went ballistic when I found out my taxi driver had charged me double the correct fare from the airport to my hotel.

Before we travel, we’re often warned to pack various medicines, to stash our money under our clothes, to avoid certain foods or tap water. But maybe we also ought to be warned of another danger: how ripe we are to feelings of frustration that can boil over to a soul-shattering rage. Travel strips us not only of our comforts but also the conventions that keep our most turbulent emotions in check. Sometimes that plunge into the unfamiliar can be a broadening experience, but at other times, it can inspire more instinctual, even animal emotions.

Perhaps the greatest danger we face when we’re not at home is ourselves.

At the end of the scene at the Great Wall, Conley writes, “Maybe I’m out of my mind for yelling about twenty Chinese RMB. What I would like to do is start over and leave as much of my anger as I can behind on this bridge.”

Yet it’s not always that easy to leave that anger behind. For me, my moments of travel anger have left me drained, embarrassed, yet also richer emotionally after I’d reflected upon them.

After all, it’s not like we can avoid the situation: At some point or other while you’re on a journey, a bit of travel anger is inevitable. It’s what we do with that anger afterward that counts. Do we write off the people and places we’ve visited as villains? Or do we dare to follow Conley’s example of putting our angry reactions while abroad under the microscope, to search for any cancerous cells we may have managed to avoid confronting while at home?

The post Travel anger: Is the greatest danger we face when traveling ourselves? appeared first on Matador Network.

68 insanely colorful places [pics]

Matador Network - Wed, 12/02/2014 - 06:00

No, you don’t need to adjust your screen, nor are any of these the product of extreme photoshopping.

Instead, these places (natural and manmade, seasonal and perennial) possess such incredible and unusual colors that it’s hard to believe they really exist.

The Crayola junkie in me was compelled to catalog them here.

1 Kawachi Fuji Garden, Kitakyushu, Japan Despite the internet popularity of the Wisteria Tunnel image at this Japanese garden, the private Kawachi Fuji Garden remains one of Japan’s better kept secrets. Located in the Fukuoka Prefecture in Kyushu, the garden is home to 150 trees, broken into 22 distinct breeds of wisteria, and costs between 300-1000 yen to enter depending on the season. The prime time to visit the garden is April and May, with the annual Wisteria festival held at the end of April.
(via) 2 Canola flower fields, Yunnan, China These yellow canola flowers (also known as rapeseed flowers) bloom in early spring, giving the small county of Luoping in Yunnan the appearance of a golden ocean. These flowers don’t just attract humans, though; Luoping is also a national center for raising bees and producing honey.
(via) 3 Morning Glory Pool, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming The colors in this hot spring have been more thoroughly researched than the distinctive pink hue of Lake Hillier and are definitely due to bacterial colonies lining its walls. Sometimes, after heavy seismic activity in the area, the pool will erupt as a geyser.
(via) See more like this: 60 insane cloud formations from around the world [pics] 4 Hitachi Seaside Park, Hitachinaka, Ibaraki, Japan Sprawling over an area of 470 areas, the Hitachi Seaside Park is best known for the “Nemophila Harmony,” a massive flower festival held in May celebrating the blooming of over 4.5 million translucent blue Nemophila (baby blue-eyes) flowers. The park is also home to 170 types of tulips, over a million daffodils, and myriad other flowers. Fun fact: Hitachi Seaside Park also hosts the “Rock in Japan Festival” annually, in August.
(via) 5 Fly Geyser, Northern Nevada An accidental man-made phenomenon, Fly Geyser is the byproduct of well drilling in the 1960s–a poorly capped well began spewing dissolved minerals, and over the years those minerals have piled up to form the geyser’s distinctive rainbow pillars. Sadly, it’s on private property (though that hasn’t stopped people from extensive blogging about how to find it).
(via) 6 Sagano Bamboo Forest, Arashiyama, Japan Designated as both a Historic Site and Place of Scenic Beauty under the Japanese Monument classification system, Arashiyama (or Storm Mountain, so-called for the mountain near the district opposite the Ōi River) is located on the western edge of Kyoto. Another season-dependent region, tourism to Arashiyama peaks during the spring and fall, with the blooming of cherry blossoms and the color changes of autumn. Fun fact: The Sagano Bamboo Forest lies just north of the Togetsukyo bridge (Moon Crossing Bridge), and depending on which bank you stand on, the river you’re facing is called either the Hozu River (on the west side) or the Katsura River (on the east side).
(via) 7 Zhangye Danxia, Southwest China More popularly known as the “Rainbow Mountains of China,” the Zhangye Danxia landforms cover an area of almost 300 square miles, and are formed from geological processes unique to China. This landform was declared a World Heritage Site in 2010.
(via) 8 Yi Peng, Thailand Celebrated annually throughout Thailand and parts of Laos, but with the most impressive display at Chiang Mai, the festival of merit now coincides with Loi Krathong, and is celebrated together by releasing a seemingly infinite amount of lanterns both into the sky, and floating along the waters.
(via) 9 Cinque Terre, Italy Cinque Terre (“the five lands”) is a portion of coast on the Italian Riviera composed of five villages, built on terraces that overlook the sea. Pictured is the village of Manarola.
(via) Intermission 15 of the most haunted places in the world [pics] 9 ‘extreme’ places you can visit (fairly) easily [pics] Celebrating the sunsets of Seattle 10 Lake Hillier, Middle Island, Australia There is no consensus on why this particular lake is pink, but some hypotheses include the presence of dye produced by bacteria in the water, or colonies of red bacteria living in the lake’s salt crusts. Fun fact: the water stays pink even when you take it away in a bottle, so it’s not just a trick of the light.
(via) 11 Tulip fields, The Netherlands As the world’s main producer of tulips, some 3 billion tulip flowers are grown annually in the Netherland’s Duin- en Bollenstreek (Dune and Bulb region in Dutch). The prime time to see the tulips is between the end of March and the beginning of May.
(via) 12 Santorini, Greece A small island located in the southern Aegean Sea off Greece’s southeastern coast, Santorini is renowned for its blue-roofed, whitewashed architecture, killer sunsets, and its fascinating volcanic activity.
(via) 13 Burano, Venice, Italy Burano is located about 4 miles from the city of Venice. The colors of the houses are subject to a strict, government-regulated system; one must submit a formal request to paint one’s home, and the government will respond with a specific set of colors acceptable for that particular property.
(via) 14 Black Forest, Germany Home to its own unique breed of cattle, horses, and a giant earthworm, the Black Forest is part of a mountain range situated in the state of Baden-Württemberg, in the southwestern region of Germany. The actual forest consists mostly of Norway Spruce, Douglas Fir, and White Pine trees, and is riddled with popular hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing trails. The region is also known for the origins of Black Forest Ham, Black Forest Cake, and renowned precision clocks (made before the closure of the factories over the two World Wars).
(via) 15 Chefchaouen, Morocco A mountain town in northwestern Morocco, Chefchaouen (or just “Chaouen” to the locals) is named for the mountain peaks above the town, which have the appearance of two goat horns (“chaoua”). The countryside surrounding this city is renowned as a prolific source of kief; in fact, the region is one of the main producers of cannabis in Morocco.
(via) Intermission 20 amazingly creative works of paper art How to: Start an art collection Amazing libraries around the world [PICS] 16 Valparaiso, Chile This Chilean port city, also known as “Little San Francisco” and “The Jewel of the Pacific,” is where Chile’s National Congress has convened since 1990. Valparaiso is home to South America’s very first fire department, as well as a famed and elaborate system of funicular elevators.
(via) 17 Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon, Arizona The Havasu creek plummets 100 feet over a vertical cliff in the Grand Canyon, landing in a pool rich in calcium carbonate (which gives it that vivid blue-green color). Because the mineral content of the creek is so high, the configuration of the waterfall is always changing (as the cliff top builds up and breaks off).
(via) 18 Antelope Canyon, Arizona Just southwest of Havasu Falls is Antelope Canyon in northern Arizona. Formed by flash floods roaring through sandstone, the canyon’s name in Navajo actually translates to “the place where water runs through rocks.”
(via) 19 Rotorua Hot Springs, New Zealand Powerful geothermal activity in the area has created an array of hot springs and mud pools in and around Rotorua, New Zealand. The downside of all of that geothermal activity is that it causes heavy hydrogen sulfide emissions, which smell like rotten eggs and have earned the city the nickname “Sulfur City.”
(via) 20 Daigo-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan Daigo-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan
(via) 21 Panjin Red Beach, China Located in the Liaohe River Delta, this beach is home to a massive population of seaweed, which flourishes in the saline-alkali soil. Though the seaweed is green for most of the year, it undergoes its startling transformation to red in the autumn.
(via) 22 Takinoue Park, Hokkaido, Japan This 2.5-acre park is famous for the Shibazakura (pink moss) that grows there and blooms in May and June. In fact, there is a dedicated Pink Moss Festival put on by the city of Hokkaido every year.
(via) 23 Santa Marta, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil The Favela Painting Project is an ongoing Kickstarter campaign to improve the feel and appearance of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas (shanty towns). Their first (very successful) painting project was executed at Santa Marta, and they continue to recruit local youths to help beautify the city.
(via) 24 Annual Umbrella Installation, Agueda, Portugal In what has become a yearly occurrence, Umbrella Sky Project installs a canopy of brightly colored umbrellas over the streets of Agueda from July to September. Not only do they provide shade from the strong summer sun, but they also add a startling pop of color and a break from the everyday to residents’ lives.
(via) 25 Dendy Street Beach, Melbourne, Australia The Dendy Street Beach in Melbourne features precisely 82 brightly painted “bathing boxes,” all of the same size and shape, usually used for shelter or for changing in and out of swimwear. All of these boxes retain their original Victorian-era architecture, and are the only surviving such structures close to the city’s business district.
(via) 26 Rainbow eucalyptus groves, Mindanao, Philippines Though the outer bark of the rainbow eucalyptus is a brownish-purple, it flakes away to reveal the green inner bark, which matures into blue, then orange, then purple and maroon. This occurs over the whole of the tree, creating a rainbow-like appearance.
(via) 27 La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina Argentine artist Benito Quinquela Martin spent three years, from 1954-1957, converting this closed-rail-line-turned-landfill into a street museum. Painted in bright colors, the traditional pedestrian alley called Caminito hosts tango performances, as well as artists selling tango-related memorabilia.
(via) 28 Tunnel of Love, Klevan, Ukraine On the banks of the Stubla River, in the Rivne Oblast province in western Ukraine, lies the small settlement of Klevan. Founded in 1458, and with a population of just 7,470, the town is one of only three “urban-type settlements” in the Rivne Raion district of Rivne Oblast (the other two are Kvasyliv and Orzhiv). The popular “tunnel of love” is actually tree coverage over a railroad track, formed by the passage of trains through the trees.
(via) 29 Longyearbyen, Norway Not only is Longyearbyen the world’s northernmost town, but also the world’s northernmost settlement with greater than 1,000 residents. In mid-July, temperatures may get as high as 45˚F, but for most of the year, it stays resolutely within the single digits.
(via) 30 Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan Known as the fashion center of Japan, Shibuya is renowned for its incredibly bright and colorful nightlife. Aside from the thousands of neon signs, Shibuya is also home to Shibuya Crossing, the busiest crosswalk in the world–traffic is regularly stopped from all directions as thousands of pedestrians flood the entire street.
(via) 31 Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia These 4,086 square miles in southwest Bolivia make up the world’s largest salt flat. The vast and incredibly flat plains and clear skies of Salar de Uyuni make it both one of the most famous “natural mirrors” on the planet, as well as an ideal altimeter calibration site for Earth observation satellites.
(via) 32 Jodhpur, India Founded in 1459, the “Sun City” of India is another curiously blue construct on the edge of the desert. The blue paint practice is thought to have originated from Brahmins (high priests in the Indian caste system) painting their homes blue to distinguish them as a holier status than the surroundings, a trend that then caught on for the balance of the city.
(via) 33 Caño Cristales River, Colombia Also known as “The River of Five Colors” or “The Liquid Rainbow,” the colors of this South American river are primarily due to a dense population of corals and aquatic herbs. However, due to its high concentration of sedimentary minerals, Caño Cristales is completely devoid of fish.
(via) 34 St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada With its hilly terrain and labyrinth of streets, this “San Francisco of Canada” has been inhabited from the 16th century onward. The majority of the city is protected as historical landmark, as it is considered the oldest English settlement in North America to have expanded into a city.
(via) 35 Júzcar, Spain In the province of Málaga in southern Spain, Júzcar was originally one of the “White Towns of Andalusia” until 2011, when Sony Pictures used 1,100 gallons of blue paint to cover the town as a promotion for the upcoming Smurfs movie. This increased tourism to the location by about 533% in the 6 months after the stunt, and despite Sony’s offer to return the town to its historic white, residents voted to keep it blue.
(via) 36 Lavender fields, Provence, France Huge fields of lavender are grown and harvested every year in France and the UK. Provence in southeastern France is particularly renowned for its geometric purple landscapes, blooming in late June and early July.
(via) 37 Pelourinho, Salvador, Brazil Located at the center of the historic district in Salvador, Bahia, Pelourinho was painted as part of a cultural revival project. Today, it is a center for the arts, featuring daily events like musical performances, dances, short plays, and live band practices as part of the Pelourinho Night and Day Project.
(via) 38 Reed Flute Cave, Guilin, China This natural limestone cave in China is over 180 million years old (though the colorful lighting is a bit more recent). Fun fact: Ink inscriptions on the cave walls have been dated all the way back to 792 AD, and tell us that the cave was an attraction even then.
(via) 39 Bo-Kaap, Cape Town, Africa Formerly the Malay Quarter, Bo-Kaap was one of the original hubs of Malay culture, the original movement to bring Islam to South Africa. Today, property in Bo-Kaap is a hot commodity, with increasing gentrification stemming from the recent economic prosperity of Cape Town.
(via) 40 Binalong Bay, Bay of Fires, Tasmania With white sand beaches and clear turquoise water, this small bay is set apart from thousands of other beaches in the world by its incredible bright orange rocks; their coloration is due to a very persistent species of lichen.
(via) 41 Wroclaw, Poland The largest city in western Poland, Wroclaw has historically changed hands several times, from the Kingdom of Poland, to Bohemia, the Austrian Empire, Prussia, Germany, and back to Poland in 1945. It is also a regular host for major European and world sporting events, and has been named a “European Capital of Culture” for 2016.
(via) 42 Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow Also known, among many names, as “the Cathedral of the Protection of Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat,” Saint Basil’s Cathedral was constructed under Ivan the Terrible over the course of 1555-1561. The cathedral, marking the geometric center of Moscow, took on its vibrant hues starting in the 17th century, when bright colors became fashionable among the Russian people.
(via) 43 Bonn, Germany Founded by the Romans in the first century BC, Bonn is one of the oldest cities in Germany, and is located in North Rhine-Westphalia on the banks of the Rhine River. The street pictured, known as Heerstrasse Bonn, was originally built to enable rapid military mobilization through the city. Today, the street is a popular tourist destination for its iconic cherry blossoms, with the annual Kirschblütenfest (Cherry Blossom Festival) occurring there mid-April and signaling the arrival of springtime.
(a href="http://www.dailygood.org/">via) 44 Willemstad, Curacao Situated on the southern Caribbean island of Curacao, this harbor-accessed city center is both Curacao’s capital, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Established in 1634, the city is known for its Dutch architecture and reputation as the largest oil refinery in the Caribbean (formerly the world).
(via) 45 Guanajuato City, Guanajuato, Mexico Known as one of the most colorful cities in Mexico, Guanajuato has a long history of art (as the birthplace of Diego Rivera, and home of Jose Chavez Morado and Olga Costa). It is also known for its Majolica pottery, done in the traditional Spanish style for the past 400 years, and the brightly hand-painted ceramics of Tarandacuao, located in Guanajuato state’s lowlands.
(via) 46 Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia The largest reef system in the world, the 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands span some 133,000 square miles, and are home to more than 1,500 species of fish and countless other species of marine life. Despite extensive conservation efforts, climate change, pollution from farm runoff, invasive species (the crown of thorns starfish), and overfishing still present major threats to the reef system.
(via) 47 Dallol, Ethiopia In the Danakil Depression (a crater from a volcanic explosion) this alien landscape was formed by Miocene salt deposts and hydrothermal activity. The constant geothermal activity forces geysers and hot springs up from below the Earth’s surface, which leak brine and acidic liquids. “Dallol” or “dissolution” refers to the green acid ponds (pH <1), sulfur, and iron oxide deposits, and comes from the Afar people native to the Horn of Africa.
(via) 48 Dubai Miracle Garden, Dubai Now the “world’s biggest natural flower garden,” this 72,000 sq. foot garden contains over 45 million flowers, and is maintained through drip irrigation and the recycling of waste water.
(via) 49 Chamarel, Mauritius

Home of the “seven coloured earths” phenomenon still not fully explained by science, the multi-colored dunes at the village of Chamarel are one of the only places in the world where you can see as many as seven colors at once in nature.
(via) 50 Holi, worldwide Primarily observed in India and Nepal, but with growing popularity among non-Hindus in South Asia, the spring festival of colors and love is an ancient Hindu religious festival that starts with a bonfire, and proceeds into a color-carnival. Participants are showered with powdered paint, paint-filled water guns, and paint-filled water balloons. This celebration subsequently spawned the commercial “Color Run” global phenomenon, gaining traction since 2011.
(via) 51 Rio Tinto, Spain A river in southwestern Spain, the Rio Tinto flows from the Sierra Morena mountains south down to the Gulf of Cadiz. It gets its red color from dissolved iron deposits due to the river’s high acidity (pH 2), a possible byproduct of the heavy mining of precious metals in the area, from as early as 3,000 BC.
(via) 52 Kliluk Spotted Lake, Canada Located northwest of Osoyoos, BC, the Kliluk Spotted Lake contains some of the highest concentrations of magnesium sulfate, calcium, and sodium sulfates (as well as a myriad of other minerals) in the world. When the water of the lake evaporates in the summer, it leaves pockets (the “spots’) of different colored ponds based on the individual mineral concentrations.
(via) 53 Palais des Congres, Montreal, Canada This French-Canadian convention center was built in the early 1980s, directly above Montreal’s main underground highway, the Ville-Marie Expressway. The entrance hall is paneled entirely in colorful glass, so when the sun shines in every bit of architecture is bathed in bright colors.
(via) 54 Mendenhall Ice Caves, Juneau, Alaska These unbelievably blue ice caves located within the Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska are only accessible by first kayaking to, and then ice climbing over, the glacier itself. However, sadly this glacier has receded 2 miles in the past 50 years, and may not be around much longer.
(via) 55 Da Nang, Vietnam You’ve probably seen pictures or video of the newly-installed fire-breathing dragon bridge over the Han River, but in Da Nang, Vietnam many bridges are excitingly lit with colorful lights at night. And to top it off, Da Nang has hosted an international fireworks competition over the river every year since 2008.
(via) 56 Busan, South Korea Every year on Buddha’s birthday, temples all across South Korea light up in an astonishing array of colorful paper “wish lanterns.” During the festivities, the Samgwangsa Temple in Busan is extravagantly decorated in over 10,000 geometric and artistic arrangements of lanterns.
(via) 57 Rainbow Staircase, Istanbul, Turkey A local retiree named Huseyin Cetinel devoted four whole days and almost $1000 out-of-pocket to decorate a flight of stairs in his neighborhood in Istanbul. His fellow residents loved the project so much that when the government painted over the steps in gray, it inspired a movement across the entire city–since then, communities all over Istanbul have brightened their own neighborhoods with rainbow-colored steps.
(via) 58 The Rainbow Village, Taichung, Taiwan Huang Yung-Fu (lovingly known as “Rainbow Grandpa”) was living in a military dependents village on the outskirts of Taichung when the government announced that they were planning to demolish it. To save his home, Grandpa Huang took to the streets with his paints and his brushes and turned the previously dismal village into a whimsical work of art (which the government has since taken steps to preserve!).
(via) 59 Legoland Not only are they tons of fun, Legos also have the corner on the market for bright, primary colors. With locations in California, Florida, Denmark, Germany, Malaysia, and the UK, you can get your colorful construction fix on three continents.
(via) 60 Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark Nyhavn translates to “new harbor,” and describes the 17th century canal-front entertainment district in Copenhagen. Lined with distinctively colorful rowhouses (the first of which was constructed in 1661) and historical wooden ships, the district boasts an impressive number of canal-facing bars and restaurants (which provide patrons with blankets for outdoor dining even in colder months).
(via) 61 Kulusuk, Greenland Located on a small island in southeast Greenland, this settlement was established in 1909 and is dotted with brightly painted wooden homes. The dialect of Greenlandic spoken in Kulusuk (called Tunumiit oraasiat) is considered the most innovative of the dialects and differs greatly from those found in western Greenland.
(via) 62 Menton, Cote d’Azur, France Nicknamed “The Pearl of France,” this colorful coastal town is famous for its gardens and lemon and orange groves. In fact, the town is so centered on citrus that they throw a Lemon Festival every February, during which huge statues are built entirely out of different citrus fruits.
(via) 63 Keukenhof Park, Lisse, The Netherlands Also called the “Garden of Europe,” Keukenhof Park (which covers 80 acres) is planted with over 7 million flower bulbs every year. Though the park is only open from March to May, it has been around since 1949 and remains a major attraction for tourists and dignitaries alike.
(via) 64 Old San Juan, Puerto Rico The oldest settlement in Puerto Rico, Old San Juan is actually located on a narrow island to the north and is connected to the rest of the territory by bridges. The city is known for its blue cobblestone streets and brightly painted traditional alleys, the architecture of which is strictly regulated by the local government.
(via) 65 Kelimutu crater lakes, Indonesia Kelimutu, one of hundreds of volcanoes in Indonesia, is unique in that it is topped with three crater lakes of drastically different colors. Tiwu Ata Mbupu (“Lake of Old People”) sits apart from the other two and appears deep blue or even black. Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai (“Lake of Maidens”) is separated from Tiwu Ata Polo (“Enchanted Lake”) by a shared crater wall. These lakes tend to be bright blue-green and red, respectively. The colors of these lakes have been known to change depending on the chemical composition of the water and the position of the sun.
(via) 66 Laguna Colorada, Bolivia This shallow salt lake in southwestern Bolivia is bright red, due to pigments in the sediment and the presence of certain algae. Huge flocks of flamingos can be found wading in the shallows, and the center of the lake is dotted with bright white islands made entirely of borax.
(via) 67 Guilin Rice Terraces, Longji, China Located in southern China close to Vietnam, the Longji terraced rice fields cover an area of almost 20,000 acres and rise as high as 3,600 feet into the air. These fields, nicknamed the “Dragon’s Backbone” because of their resemblance to scales, first appeared in this area around 1300 AD and take on a different appearance in every season, depending on the life cycle of the rice being grown.
(via) 68 Waitomo Caves, New Zealand These two-million-year-old caves in the North Island of New Zealand are home to Arachnocampa luminosa, a rare kind of glowworm whose presence in the caves in large quantities gives them their unique and unusual glow. What you’re actually seeing is the glow of the worm down a strand of silk meant for catching prey.
(via) 69 Kobe Luminarie, Kobe, Japan After the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995, the Italian government donated 200,000 individually hand-painted lights to Japan. The lights, originally designed as a beacon of hope for the many citizens without power and families of lost loved ones, have been installed and displayed at a light festival every December since, in memory of the catastrophic event.
(via) 70 Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand, India This national park located in the West Himalayas remains largely unknown and untouched thanks to its inaccessibility. Requiring a 10.5-mile hike from Govindghat, near Joshimath in Garhwal, the location was originally dubbed the “Valley of Flowers” by three British mountaineers in 1931, after getting lost and stumbling on it by accident.
(via) 71 Lake Retba, Senegal Literally translating into “pink lake,” this body of water north of the Cap Vert peninsula in northwest Africa is known for its high salt content, and gets its pink color from large concentrations of Dunaliella salina algae, which produce the red pigment as a byproduct of their metabolism. Coincidentally, Dunaliella salina is one of few organisms that can survive in such salty conditions, making Lake Retba an ideal home for the algae species.
(via) 72 Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, India Located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River in the 2500-year-old city of Madurai, the Meenakshi Amman Temple is dedicated to the gods Meenakshi (Parvati) and Sundareswarar (Shiva). The temple consists of 14 gopurams (gateway towers), all between 100-170 feet high, and two vimana (shrines).
(via) 73 Selangor, Malaysia The most developed and populated of Malaysia’s 13 states, Selangor (or Darul Ehsan, “Abode of Sincerity”) is best known for being home to the National Zoo of Malaysia, featuring 4,000 animals. These trees, a major tourist attraction in I-City (Shah Alam), are each covered in vibrant single-colored LED lights, and are lit 365 days a year.
(via) 74 Five Flower Lake, Jiuzhaigou Valley, China Located in the Jiuzhaigou Valley, a national park and reserve in Sichuan, the Five Flower Lake is the product of glacial runoff, with the blue, green, and turquoise waters drawing their color from differing calcium carbonate concentrations and varying depths. Due to the shallowness and clear waters of the Five Flower Lake, preserved ancient trees that litter the lakebed are visible from the surface.
(via) 75 Motisons Tower, Jaipur, India Architects Ravindra Verma and Rajesh Singh were given complete artistic license over the design of the building and drew inspiration from a lotus flower. When the sun sets, the 50,000-square-foot structure comes alive with color-changing light panels and lit animated leaf veins.
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The post 75 places so colorful it’s hard to believe they’re real [pics] appeared first on Matador Network.

A reason never to camp naked

Stuff Travel feed - Wed, 12/02/2014 - 05:00
It was just too hot to carry on. With oppressive temperatures reaching into the mid-30s it was time to cool down in the twilight.

How to piss off a Texan

Matador Network - Wed, 12/02/2014 - 04:00

Photo: Thomas Hawk

Mess with Texas.

You most likely associate the phrase “Don’t mess with Texas” with cheesy t-shirts and that unmistakable brand of Texas swagger.

What you don’t know is that the slogan is the product of a 1980s anti-littering campaign and a federally registered trademark of the Texas Department of Transportation. The initiative is credited with cutting highway trash by 70% from 1986-1990.

So maybe the best way to piss off a Texan is to mess with our state — cruise down a Hill Country two-lane during wildflower season and throw your pickle juice and mustard-stained Whataburger wrapper out the window. Local law enforcement will be happy to collect the maximum $500 fine when they spot your out-of-state license plate.

Assume we’re all cowboys / dumb rednecks.

No, I didn’t ride a horse to school. No, I’ve never been on a working ranch. Automatically pegging Texans as backwardly rural, uninformed, or unworldly would be sadly missing the mark.

I’ve met more fellow Texans while traveling (places like South Korea, Argentina, Belgium) than I have people from any other state. And just a mile down the road from my house, at the University of Texas, researchers are at this very moment using over $600 million in annual research grants to analyze data from the farthest reaches of space, design the computers of the future, and develop groundbreaking biomedical technologies that may one day help cure cancer.

What a bunch of hicks.

Underestimate our geographic diversity.

The state borders encircle 268,580 square miles — that’s more than 100 Delawares.

In the East we’ve got the Piney Woods, a forest of pine and oak that covers 54,400 square miles (20+ Delawares, for those counting). The Great Plains of North Texas and the Panhandle comprise cotton fields (Texas is the largest US producer) and other agricultural land. Out West things get pretty desert-y — oil wells share real estate with wind farms, and the Guadalupe Mountains rise to 8,750ft (over 2,000 feet higher than anything east of the Mississippi). The coastal plains of South Texas and the scrubby hills of Central round out the picture, but of course all this is still a gross overgeneralization.

Bottom line: Whatever image you’ve generated in your mind to define “Texas,” it’s woefully inadequate.

Say the whole state sounds awful…except for Austin.

We get it — the world has a hard-on for Austin. But that still doesn’t explain why, when I’m traveling around the US and tell someone I live in ATX, they invariably respond with some riff on the above.

You’ve just dismissed over 25 million people out of hand. Kind of a dick move.

Move to Austin from San Francisco or Brooklyn and then shit-talk the rest of the state.

Go home.

Call it “George Bush’s state.”

W was born in Connecticut. HW was born in Massachusetts. While there are likely hundreds of George Bushes from Texas, they’re clearly not the ones you’re thinking of.

This is not a political beef — just a matter of birthright and heritage. But since you brought it up, maybe I should remind you there were over 5 million of us who voted for the other guys in 2000 and ’04. That’s like, 6 Delawares.

Make an “everything’s bigger in Texas” joke.

This is the territory of souvenir bumper stickers and franchise steakhouse wall art. Your joke will not land.

Ask why we don’t have an accent.

Because I grew up in a suburb of the 7th largest city in the nation.

You really need to specify anyway — are you talking East Texas drawl or West Texas twang…or the Mexican / Hispanic flavor that’s probably a more accurate, 21st-century reckoning of the “Texas accent”?

Drive like a tourist.

I know — you are a tourist. But here’s a tip: When you’re on a country highway, taking your time, enjoying the pastoral sights, and you suddenly check your rearview to see an F-350 bearing down on your rear bumper, find a good spot to drift onto the shoulder a ways so that cowboy/girl can pass you more easily.

If you see the hazards blink or a hand wave through the rear glass, you know you’ve done good.

Mix up your NBA teams.

In San Antonio it’s the Spurs, in Dallas the Mavericks, in Houston the Rockets. There are no exceptions.

Sauce your meat.

Again, Texas is too big to have only one style of barbecue, but the Central Texas variety is currently ascendant — the main element of which is certainly not any kind of sauce.

When you order BBQ in Lockhart or Llano, in Luling, Taylor, or the hipster trailers in Austin, it’s all about the quality of meat, the wood used, and the cook time. Dousing that half pound of moist brisket in a pool of sauce is a kick in the spurs to the artiste behind the smoker. Go back to Kansas City.

Order a burrito.

Seriously? You came to the best place in the world to eat Mexican food outside of Mexico and ordered some Californian perversion of the real thing? There’s only one person who should be pissed off about that, and it’s you.

The post How to piss off a Texan appeared first on Matador Network.

PSA points out that the Olympics have always been kinda gay

Matador Network - Wed, 12/02/2014 - 03:00

THIS AWESOME NEW PSA from the Canada Institute of Diversity and Inclusion points out that the Olympics – in this case the luge – have always been a little bit gay. And they have a point: in the midst of all of the horrific violence being committed against homosexuals in Russia, it’s hard to see how homophobia fits into an international event predicated on tolerance and inclusion, and that has it’s roots in naked men wrestling.

If you want to do something for LGBT rights globally, try giving to the Human Rights Campaign, or at least follow them on Twitter.

The post PSA points out that the Olympics have always been kinda gay appeared first on Matador Network.

Profile of the traveler of the future

Matador Network - Wed, 12/02/2014 - 01:00

Photo: Elena Mitsura

TRAVEL TODAY seems almost impossibly removed from that of our ancestors. Imagine boarding a ship 150 years ago and knowing it might be years, decades before you’d ever see the people again who were kissing you goodbye — if you returned at all.

Following this same logic, our travels of today — studying places via Google Earth, creating digital boarding passes on our smartphones, blogging about our travels via words and images — all will surely seem as primitive and perhaps nostalgic to our descendants 150 years from now as our ancestors’ travels do to us.

And yet on some level, progress is an illusion. For every technological innovation gained, there’s a way of connecting or interacting that’s lost, forgotten. Take map reading skills, for example. Or being able to navigate by the stars.

What’s constant is the way travel feels. The inner landscape of emotions that reflects each part of a journey. Like the traveler of 150 years ago, the traveler of the future — even with the 6,000mph vactrains that take her from NY to LA in 20 minutes, the medicines that rapidly heal damage or disease, the cameras that capture and communicate data holographically — she will still have the same giddiness that comes before a trip, the same sense of resolution, of circularity, that arrives when you get home.

Even if that home is in outer space.

With all this in mind, here is a profile of the future traveler.

Photo: Valters Krontals

1. She’ll make intercontinental travel in a matter of minutes.

Right now our velocity as travelers is governed by friction and weather conditions. Future technologies will all but eliminate these. One technology already in design stages in China is the vactrain.

An idea that’s been around since the early 20th century, the vactrain is simply a train that operates within a vacuum tube. Instead of wheels, which are limited by friction (wear, heat, etc), the train would levitate on (and be propelled by) magnets. And because there’s no air resistance inside a vacuum, the train could reach speeds estimated at 5,000 to 6,000mph, allowing travelers to go from NY to Beijing in less than two hours.

2. She’ll have “smart” clothes.

Future travelers will look back at our “tech-integrated” clothing — jackets with special pockets and ports for iPods and earbuds — as more akin to animal pelts than the clothing they’ll wear.

Garments will both regulate conditions from the external environment — temperature, humidity, radiation, etc — as well as the internal environment. “Skin”-like primary layers will monitor vital signs and be able to apply pressure to areas to increase circulation or soothe inflammation. The fabrics will themselves be energy sources, generating solar power.

3. She’ll have various options for personal flight.

Photo: Zach Dischner

The current models of flying cars will look like Fred Flintstone-style vehicles to future travelers, who will not only have different types of personal transport vehicles, but actual suits that take the glide ratio of current wingsuit technology and expand it so people can literally “jump and fly.”

4. There will be no effort to creating “media;” it will come directly from her memory.

The whole notion of capturing media, whether by taking a photo or writing something down, will be replaced by the ability to simply download our minds’ observations, ideas, conversations, memories. And the approach by which we’re currently pursuing this today — through invasive implantation — will be long supplanted by noninvasive sensors that allow “connection” simply through brainwaves. The whole idea of “wires” will be looked at like the horse and buggy.

5. Language acquisition will give her nuanced appreciation of different cultures.

The finest points of travel may be the moments when you finally have enough vocabulary and time in another culture to where you begin to “get” cultural nuances. This is when things stop feeling “foreign” and suddenly take on a sense of identity.

Future travelers will be able to “train” themselves before traveling in languages in ways that bring together the physiognomy, the humor, and other elements of language acquisition that currently take years to master (unless you’re a kid), and compress them to incredibly short times.

6. Her concept of “home” and “lifestyle” will include many different places / possibilities.

Photo: Bashar Al-Ba’noon

Future travelers will move around in ways that seem only like lifestyles of the wealthy today. The reason? “Houses” will be hyper efficient, tradeable, and instantly ‘scanable’ for others to rent or homeswap at the drop of a hat.

Whereas now we look at “destinations” and “activities” as the touchpoints of travel, in the future we’ll be able to scan through menus of entire lifestyles, and inhabit them for different periods of time. Thus, our concepts of what’s “home,” of what’s “school,” of where we belong, will totally change.


This post is sponsored by SanDisk. Click through to read more of life’s stories, told from memory.

The post Profile of the traveler of the future appeared first on Matador Network.

Right time, wrong airport

Stuff Travel feed - Tue, 11/02/2014 - 15:59
On at least 150 flights over the last 20 years, US commercial air carriers have either landed at the wrong airport or started to land and realised their mistake in time.

First class all the way

Stuff Travel feed - Tue, 11/02/2014 - 12:23
The Brits would no doubt dismiss me as an "anorak", and, what's more, an antipodean one.

Days of wine tours and tastings speed by

Stuff Travel feed - Tue, 11/02/2014 - 11:50
I'm no wine connoisseur. I have enjoyed many a $10 bottle without wishing it was a $100 bottle.

Australia chases China tourism dollar

Stuff Travel feed - Tue, 11/02/2014 - 05:00
A Chinese tourism boom in Australia has left hotels and tour operators scrambling to adapt. They are hiring Mandarin speakers, changing menus and even adjusting the temperature on coach rides.

Air NZ offer spurned by public

Stuff Travel feed - Mon, 10/02/2014 - 16:54
Air New Zealand's social media activities have been brought back to Earth with a bump, after an offer of the chance to be a "volunteer writer-at-large" for the airline was widely ridiculed.

China's crackdown on nude sunbathers

Stuff Travel feed - Mon, 10/02/2014 - 16:52
Chinese authorities in the southern resort island of Hainan have announced a crackdown on nude sunbathers, with loudspeakers and surveillance cameras as well as police patrols being used to deter potential offenders.

Phenomenal colour change for famous NZ lake

newzealand.com press releases - Mon, 10/02/2014 - 14:43
A massive landslip has changed the face of one of New Zealand's most famous lakes.

Woman declares large package

Stuff Travel feed - Mon, 10/02/2014 - 12:09
When people declare food they're bringing into New Zealand officers at our borders don't normally expect to inspect donkey penis.

Airport shift proposal worth $500m

Stuff Travel feed - Mon, 10/02/2014 - 11:08
A proposal to relocate Wellington Airport to a site on the hills north of the suburb Newlands is worth investigating, Greater Wellington Regional Council chairwoman Fran Wilde says.

NZ scores high for hotel internet

Stuff Travel feed - Mon, 10/02/2014 - 10:51
New Zealand is ranked second worldwide for percentage of hotels offering internet access, according to a survey.

Five top surf spots for summer

Stuff Travel feed - Mon, 10/02/2014 - 10:24
Former pro surfer Laura Andon says once you're hooked, you'll be on a mission to search for the best wave.

Sevens costumes cause Jetstar delays

Stuff Travel feed - Mon, 10/02/2014 - 08:31
A safety-conscious Wellington Sevens outfit caused flight delays over the weekend.

Tourism groups: make trans-Tasman travel easier

NZ 3 News feed - Sat, 08/02/2014 - 07:35
Trans-Tasman travel barriers are being eased for cricket fans, but tourism groups want to see the streamlining continue.

Bed bug attacks on the rise

NZ 3 News feed - Thu, 06/02/2014 - 16:33
NZ's leading pest control agency say they've seen a 63pct increase in bed bug callouts in Auckland compared to the same time last year.
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